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How Do You Explain the Evidence for the Resurrection?

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by Tree of Life, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. HitchSlap

    HitchSlap PROUDLY PRIMATE

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    Christianity really didn't take off the first two hundred years.

    You're kidding, right?
    No .... Sherlock.
    The reason for this was because no codified "version" of Christianity yet existed. Every community that practiced Christianity developed their own customs and Christian traditions. It's why Paul spent so much time telling these churches how to do it right.

    There are over forty gospels, and at least six versions of Acts. So it wasn't until Constantine provided special sanction for Christianity, and the faith properly codified by the CoN, that the religion really began to take off.
     
  2. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Christianity was a growing influence in the empire even before Constantine. Constantine himself did not make it the official state religion of the empire, he merely instituted religious toleration. It did not become the official state religion until some time later, after his death.
     
  3. HitchSlap

    HitchSlap PROUDLY PRIMATE

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    Educate yourself. Maybe you haven't had a proper college history course. This Wiki paragraph should be enough to get you started.

    Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity.[notes 1] Although he lived much of his life as a pagan, and later as a catechumen, he joined the Christian faith on his deathbed, being baptised by Eusebius of Nicomedia. He played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which declared religious tolerance for Christianity in the Roman empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, which produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed.[3] The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus' tomb in Jerusalem and became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power in the High Middle Ages was based on the forged Donation of Constantine. He has historically been referred to as the "First Christian Emperor", and he did heavily promote the Christian Church. Some modern scholars, however, debate his beliefs and even his comprehension of the Christian faith itself.[notes 2]
     
  4. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've studied the history before, please don't presume I am ignorant. I especially am well aware of what the Donation of Constantine was (a pious fraud at best), and has no bearing on this discussion. As is mentioned, Constantine's Christian significance is debatable.

    Christianity did not become the official state religion of the Roman Empire until Theodosius I made it so in 383.

    I prefer to stick to the Bible and the Church fathers. I don't mind honest historical inquiry, but the idea that Constantine was a significant contributor to Christianity is simply not credible, it is a fringe idea that simply takes his hagiography too seriously and distorts its significance.

    Frankly, focusing on Constantine is highschool level history, at best.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  5. HitchSlap

    HitchSlap PROUDLY PRIMATE

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    I would never presume to tell you that Constantine didn't start Christianity.
    Wow. I feel like you're putting me on here.

    UW Religion Today: How Constantine Created the Christian Church | News | University of Wyoming

    see above
     
  6. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It would be very extreme. Almost no biblical scholars actually believe that, even ones that have no particular investment in Christian orthodoxy.
     
  7. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That title is very much hyperbolic, and from my standpoint, ridiculous. Since I am Lutheran, I have no particular investment in the human political structures surrounding Christianity. I'm not out to defend a notion of the Church as a divine, infallible institution, I'm not Catholic or Orthodox. Jesus founded the Church as I understand it. We are not heavily invested in ecclessiastical structures, we are invested in the person of Jesus, primarily.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  8. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Hide The Pain

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    This is kind of like saying that because the works of Shakespeare brought a uniformity to the English language, the English language did not really exist before Shakespeare.

    This is simply untrue. There are a handful of spurious gospels coming from the second and third centuries which have never been accepted by the church. But the four gospels and the letters of Paul as we know them were recognized from the earliest times. We see them quoted and utilized in church liturgies even in the first century.
     
  9. HitchSlap

    HitchSlap PROUDLY PRIMATE

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    No, it's not like this at all. Christianity existed in various forms with varying practices, and was marginalized. It didn't have a significant impact the first two hundred years, until it was seemingly used for political purposes by Constantine. The rest, as they say is history.
    This isn't even controversial.

    I really don't care what was or wasn't accepted. The point is, gospels were a dime a dozen and their impact in the genesis of a upstart religion is undeniable.

    Apocrypha and pseudepigrapha[edit]
    Main articles: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
    Gnostic gospels[edit]
    Main article: Gnostic Gospels
    Jewish-Christian gospels[edit]
    Main article: Jewish-Christian gospels
    Infancy gospels[edit]
    Other gospels[edit]
    Partially preserved gospels[edit]
    Fragmentary preserved gospels[α][edit]
    • Gospel of Eve – mentioned only once by Epiphanius circa 400, who preserves a single brief passage in quotation.
    • Gospel of Mani – 3rd century – attributed to the Persian Mani, the founder of Manichaeism.
    • Gospel of the Saviour (also known as the Unknown Berlin gospel) – highly fragmentary 6th-century manuscript based on a late 2nd- or early 3rd-century original. A dialogue rather than a narrative; heavily Gnostic in character in that salvation is dependent upon possessing secret knowledge.
    • Coptic Gospel of the Twelve – late 2nd century Coptic language work – although often equated with the Gospel of the Ebionites, it appears to be an attempt to re-tell the Gospel of John in the pattern of the Synoptics; it quotes extensively from John's Gospel.
    Reconstructed gospels[β][edit]
    • Secret Gospel of Mark – suspect: the single source mentioning it is considered by many to be a modern forgery, and it disappeared before it could be independently authenticated.
    • Gospel of Matthias
    Lost gospels[edit]
    • Gospel of Cerinthus – ca. 90–120 AD – according to Epiphanius[7] this is a Jewish gospel identical to the Gospel of the Ebionites and, apparently, a truncated version of Matthew's Gospel according to the Hebrews.
    • Gospel of Apelles – mid-to-late 2nd century; a further edited version of Marcion's edited version of Luke.
    • Gospel of Valentinus[8]
    • Gospel of the Encratites[9]
    • Gospel of Andrew – mentioned by only two 5th-century sources (Augustine and Pope Innocent I) who list it as apocryphal.[10]
    • Gospel of Barnabas – this work is mentioned only once, in the 5th century Decree of Gelasius, which lists it as apocryphal – not to be confused with the 16th century Gospel of Barnabas.
    • Gospel of Bartholomew – mentioned by only two 5th-century sources which list it as apocryphal.[11]
    • Gospel of Hesychius – mentioned only by Jerome and the Decree of Gelasius that list it as apocryphal.[12]
    • Gospel of Lucius[12] – mentioned only by Jerome and the Decree of Gelasius that list it as apocryphal.
    • Gospel of Merinthus[13] – mentioned only by Epiphanius; probably the Gospel of Cerinthus, and the confusion due to a scribal error.
    • An unknown number of other Gnostic gospels not cited by name.[14]
    • Gospel of the Adversary of the Law and the Prophets[15]
    • Memoirs of the Apostles – Lost narrative of the life of Jesus, mentioned by Justin Martyr. The passages quoted by Justin may have originated from a gospel harmony of the Synoptic Gospels composed by Justin or his school.
    Fragments of possibly unknown or lost (or existing) gospels[α][edit]
    • Papyrus Egerton 2 – late 2nd-century manuscript of possibly earlier original; contents parallel John 5:39–47, 10:31–39; Matt 1:40–45, 8:1–4, 22:15–22; Mark 1:40–45, 12:13–17; and Luke 5:12–16, 17:11–14, 20:20–26, but differ textually; also contains incomplete miracle account with no equivalent in canonical Gospels
    • Fayyum Fragment – a fragment of about 100 Greek letters in 3rd century script; the text seems to parallel Mark 14:26–31
    • Oxyrhynchus Papyri – Fragments #1, 654, & 655 appear to be fragments of Thomas; #210 is related to MT 7:17–19 and LK 6:43–44 but not identical to them; #840 contains a short vignette about Jesus and a Pharisee not found in any known gospel, the source text is probably mid 2nd century; #1224 consists of paraphrases of Mark 2:17 and Luke 9:50
    • Gospel of Jesus' Wife – Modern hoax based on Gospel of Thomas[16][17]
    • Papyrus Berolinensis 11710 – 6th-century Greek fragment, possibly from an apocryphal gospel or amulet based on John.
    • Papyrus Cairensis 10735 – 6th–7th-century Greek fragment, possibly from a lost gospel, may be a homily or commentary.
    • Papyrus Merton 51 – Fragment from apocryphal gospel or a homily on Luke 6:7.
    • Strasbourg Fragment – Fragment of a lost gospel, probably related to Acts of John.
    Medieval gospels[edit]

    Not exactly. As mentioned, there were many 'gospels' in circulation and being used by the early church during this time. It's only because the CoN early in the fourth century that you consider MMLJ to be canonical.

    As for Paul, only seven of his letters are considered authentic.

    Are you referring to the writings of Papias?
     
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  10. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The history I read is more like Constantine wedding himself politically to a rising religious movement. By Constantine's time, a substantial number in the empire had converted to Christianity. It is true it was not the dominant influence but it was not insignificant or inconsequential, as evidenced by Roman historians of the period mentioning it.
     
  11. HitchSlap

    HitchSlap PROUDLY PRIMATE

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    Which Roman historians are you referring to?
     
  12. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pliny the Younger mentions his dealing with Christians as a governor in Asia in the 2nd century, in letters to the Roman emperor, Trajan. Clearly, the Christian presence there was seen as a problem that wasn't inconsequential, or he wouldn't have bothered writing to the emperor.
     
  13. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    I'm not really sure what you're implying here. Obviously there was a body of church tradition that continued to grow throughout the early centuries of the church, but you can find any number of Church Fathers lending authority to the canonical Gospels. I think there's a reference to them even in one of the Petrine epistles. You would need to throw out all of Patristic literature to make the claim that nothing was solidified until Constantine.

    It is true that there was a lot of conflict with various Gnostic groups, but the only Gnostic Gospel that is even potentially interesting as a witness is the Gospel of Thomas. Everything else is too late.
     
  14. HitchSlap

    HitchSlap PROUDLY PRIMATE

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    Christianity was nowhere as robust as some of the posters have asserted. My point is that Christianity didn't take off until Constantine.

    "The 2nd and 3rd centuries saw a sharp divorce from its early roots. There was an explicit rejection of then-modern Judaism and Jewish culture by the end of the 2nd century, with a growing body of adversus Judaeos literature. 4th- and 5th-century Christianity experienced imperial pressure and developed strong episcopal and unifying structure. The ante-Nicene period was without such authority and was more diverse. Many variations in this time defy neat categorizations, as various forms of Christianity interacted in a complex fashion to form the dynamic character of Christianity in this era"

    This is not even controversial... not sure why others have made such and issue out of it.
     
  15. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    I am fairly familiar with the history of late antiquity and early Christianity. I would say that the assertions here are spot on: it was a growing movement in the Roman Empire. If it hadn't been robust, it wouldn't have survived its infancy. This doesn't mean that Constantine didn't change the game by legalizing it, but there's certainly something recognizable as Christianity that predates him. Any degree of familiarity with Patristic literature would confirm this.

    I am not sure what a later rejection of Jewish culture has to do with the Gospel accounts in and of themselves. The initial question here involved the use of the Gospels as a witness to events, not the authenticity of the imperial church structure. You seem to be tying several different ideas together, some of which are uncontroversial, and others of which are very much out of favor with modern scholarship.
     
  16. HitchSlap

    HitchSlap PROUDLY PRIMATE

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    If you choose to believe Christianity was simply bursting at the seems before Constantine, knock yourself out.
     
  17. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    Not sure how you got "simply bursting at the seems (sic)" out of the uncontroversial idea of a growing movement robust enough to survive its infancy, but whatever. I only wish you'd learn how to have a conversation around here without eventually resorting to mockery. Anyway, good night.
     
  18. InterestedAtheist

    InterestedAtheist Veteran

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    Look, it seems like everyone agrees on the important point: Christianity did not become consolidated until the fourth century.
     
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  19. HitchSlap

    HitchSlap PROUDLY PRIMATE

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    Awwww... this actually made me feel sad. Sorry for coming across so offensively, I simply was making a passing point, and really wasn't interested in going unnecessarily deeper for the sake of this conversation. Often times I'm squeezing posts here on CF in between the events of my real life, and I can come across brazen. My apologies.
     
  20. HitchSlap

    HitchSlap PROUDLY PRIMATE

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    This:

    Neither Pliny nor Trajan mentions the crime that Christians had committed, except for being a Christian; and other historical sources do not provide a simple answer to what that crime could be, but most likely due to the stubborn refusal of Christians to worship Roman gods; making them appear as objecting to Roman rule.[3][4]

    and:

    Pliny states that he gives Christians multiple chances to affirm they are innocent and if they refuse three times, they are executed. Pliny states that his investigations have revealed nothing on the Christians' part but harmless practices and "depraved, excessive superstition."
     
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